The launch of 'Brave New Work: A Reader on Harun Farocki’s Film ‘Ein Neues Produkt/A New Product’, edited by Nina Möntmann (published by Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 2014), accompanied by a screening of Farocki's film A New Product and a conversation between Nina Möntmann, Kodwo Eshun and Diedrich Diederichsen.
Edited by Nina Möntmann the book contains contributions by Dirk Baecker, Diedrich Diederichsen, Mark Fisher, Anthony Iles, Nina Möntmann, Nina Power and Andreas Rumpfhuber. Their essays take Farocki’s film as a point of departure.
After thirty years of neo-liberalism, the meaning and structure of work have changed radically. With the market as the organising principle of state and society, capital no longer utilises the products of workers’ labour power, but directly targets the whole personality, social behaviour, energy and lifestyle.
How we will work in the future and who has the power to decide the answer to that question are the subjects of Harun Farocki’s film 'Ein Neues Produkt /A New Product' (2012). The film follows a team of management consultants as they develop a new consulting product, exposing, amidst flip charts and models, the psychological and ideological mechanisms of contemporary management culture.
The essays in this reader take up the topics broached by the film, exploring the spatial planning models of immaterial labour; the history of ergonomics and its social implications; the influence of management consulting on corporations; power shifts since Taylorism; the process by which the economic has continuously expanded to encompass the social; the physical aspect of immaterial labour; and the pointlessness of post-Fordist labour, culminating in the fundamental awkwardness of the office as workplace.
This event was planned before the sad news that Harun Farocki had passed away in 2014, our thoughts are with his family and friends. An exhibition, conference, workshops and a commerative event took place in Berlin at Haus der Kulturen der Welt from 26 February - 6 April.